June 29th, 2017


Friday, 30 June 2017

In today's strip, Elly reminds us of the days of the “clean your plate” club, when people were not allowed to have leftovers because of the starving children all over the world.  In my youth, I did not get this when my mother played this tune and gradually I grew to understand that she was just imitating what her mother had done with her.  My grandmother grew up during the Great Depression, where if you had a meal, you would eat all you could, because you didn’t know when the next meal was coming.  It made more sense in that context, but not much more.

My dad’s modern version of this idea is the “use the bathroom when you have a chance” philosophy, because you don’t know when you are going to need the bathroom next. 

(Strip Number 1309, Original Publication Date, 30 June 1988)

Panel 1:  Elly argues with John about throwing out the potato salad that no one wants, even though it is still good.   I would question how good a potato salad is if nobody wants it; but Elly is a defender of the defenseless dregs.  She stands up for the downtrodden dishes. 

Artwork-wise, we see Lynn going through a “I must use zip-a-tone in every panel” phase.  She zips the table in panel 1, the wall in panel 2, John’s shirt in panel 3, and then the table in panel 4.  This is more obvious in black-and-white. 

Panel 2: John and Elly continue to argue over the moral implications of the potato salad.  Elly is willing to make the self-sacrifice that will bring truth and justice for the unloved potato salad, while John argues that there is nothing wrong with throwing it out.  NOTHING WRONG, John?   What kind of man are you that makes your wife stand up for potato salad, while you stand there like a heartless guttersnipe unwilling to lift a finger for that poor, poor potato salad?

Panel 3: Elly drops the “people hungry all over the world” argument.  That’s right, John.  Hungry people who would happily support the pursuit of potato salad consumption.   John goes silent because he knows there is no arguing with an argument that Elly’s mother probably taught her.   If he speaks against Elly, he is speaking against motherhood.

Panel 4:   Alone, Elly sits eating the remaining potato salad.  She is eating for millions.  You may think she is eating for those millions of people who would gladly have eaten that potato salad.  However, she is eating for those millions of potato salads who know that their little potato lives will go fulfilled all thanks to brave, self-sacrificing, overweight, necks too weak to hold their heads up without the support of an arm and a hand, women like Elly.

Summary: We have not seen Lynn hit this idea since her Lynn Lake days 7 years back.  Although she has gone to the “Elly eats the leftovers” idea a few times, she has also done Lynn’s Notes talking about food that has gone bad in her refrigerator at least twice as often.  By this point in Corbeil, when her housekeeper Mavis was doing all the cooking for the Johnston family, the idea of Lynn feeling an obligation to eat the leftovers seems quaint.